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Classic: Wilsonville residents show off at annual car show

Bob Alton and Cameron Sheahan take part in Concours dElegance


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Charbonneau resident Robert Alton, above, is entering this 1954 Chris Craft Mahogany powerboat in this weekends Concours dElegance classic car show in Forest Grove.Charbonneau resident Robert Alton is well known nationally for his role in Save the PT Boat Inc., the Portland organization responsible for restoring PT-658.

Instead of a World War II vintage Higgins-style PT boat, however, Alton will be taking something a bit more civilian-minded to this weekend’s Concours d’Elegance car show in Forest Grove. There, he will display his 1954 Chris Craft powerboat.

With a mahogany hull, teak trim and brass fittings, Chris Craft powerboats were synonymous with affluence and quality during their 1950s post-war heyday.

“The car show usually likes us to bring some antique boats,” Alton said. “And this year I decided, ‘Why not? I’ll take it.’”

Set for Sunday, July 21, on the campus of Pacific University, the 41st annual running of this popular event features a list of 200 entrants, including a 1915 Ford fire engine from Roseburg, a 1927 Bugatti owned by Bob Ames of Portland and a 1931 Duesenberg J Phaeton owned by Clifford Stranberg of Beaverton, which is featured on this year’s poster.

But there are also more modern classics, including a 1968 Jaguar XKE Roadster, a 1970 Corvette, a 1973 Triumph Stag and a 1976 Porsche Coupe.

A celebration of American Royalty would not be complete without Packard. The 1939 Packard Super 8 Convertible Coupe displayed by LeMay — America’s Car Museum in Tacoma — will showcase the glamorous styling popular with 1930s Hollywood elites.

In addition to rare and glamorous cars, boats and other attractions, the show also serves a more humble cause. Over the years it also has raised more than $1 million for more than 700 student scholarships and youth and community service projects funded by the Forest Grove Rotary Club.

Boats, cars and judging

For Alton, it will be one of numerous appearances at the show over the past decade. When he’s not busy running Save the PT Boat Inc., Alton likes to work on his collection of Chris Craft boats.

“I’ve got a couple of them now,” he said.

The 1954 model he will display in Forest Grove has been maintained in superb condition its entire existence, including its 95 horsepower K model engine.

“The hull is all mahogany, and the engine is original,” Alton said. “It’s never been taken apart.”

He said an interesting dichotomy exists at shows like this between boat and car owners.

“All the car guys think the boat is really special,” he said. “But if I take my boat to a Portland-area boat show, it’s not really all that special.”

A museum showpiece

Wilsonville resident Cameron Sheahan also will be taking part in the Concours d’Elegance, only he’ll be showing off his 1961 Jaguar E Type sports car.

“It’s pretty,” said Sheahan, who also will serve as a judge at the show. “It’s actually the only car in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this particular model.”

He described himself as becoming “obsessed” after starting yet another restoration project.

“Generally, I get done with one car and I start on another,” he said, adding that he’s owned this particular Jaguar for 20 years. It was just in the past 18 months, however, that it really caught his eye to become his latest show entry.

“I’ve probably been going to it for the past 25 or 30 years,” he said. “I’ve probably taken eight or 10 different cars there over the years. There are all kinds of motivations that people have. Taking it to a show is to maybe win a prize or maybe not, but also to sort of support the car community.”

In his dual role as entrant and judge, Sheahan gets a unique view of the show.

He said cars are generally judged on 21 different categories.

“It takes a whole room of people,” he said. “They have basically a piece of paper with 21 boxes.”

Categories being judged include the obvious, like the appearance of the paint and originality. But judges also get down and dirty underneath each car to gauge the condition of every last part.

“It’s about how it looks when you’re lying on the ground looking up,” Sheahan said. “It’s about how it looks when you open the hood, the glass. There are 21 different boxes to fill in.”

Entries start with 100 points. From there, things can only go down.

“You start losing points for various things that aren’t up to snuff,” Sheahan said. “It is subjective, but not so much as you might think. If you walk around the car and see the chrome is kind of messed up looking, then there you go.”

The best part, however, is that those in attendance can judge for themselves.

“It’s whatever quacks your duck,” Sheahan said.

At a Glance:

2013 Concours d’ Elegance classic car show

Sunday, July 21, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Pacific University Campus, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove

Street parking and free public lots. Follow the signs.

Cost: Advance tickets: $5-$17. Gate tickets: $7-$20.

Tickets/details: http://forestgroveconcours.org, 503- 357-2300.




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